Alameda

Students engage at Alameda Community Learning Center. Photo courtesy of David Hoopes.

It's that time of the year again: Parents of fifth graders all over the Island are applying to middle schools for next fall. To help families navigate their options last year, The Alamedan asked the leaders of all seven of Alameda’s free, public middle schools – a list that includes charter, magnet and traditional schools – to offer some basic information about their programs. This year we're reprising the piece by reader request, with updates noted in the text.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

The onetime leader of the College of Alameda, the head of Alameda Little League and no fewer than three onetime school board members are among the nearly two dozen people who have applied to fill the remainder of Mayor Trish Spencer’s term on the school board. Finalists were to be selected Thursday.

Alameda's school board has selected 10 finalists vying to fill Mayor Trish Spencer's unexpired school board term. Nearly two dozen people applied for the job.

Wander down the cozy hall of Park Street Plaza, and you’ll find a charming shop that Park Street Business Association has named its 2014 Retailer of the Year.

Alameda’s housing authority is preparing to open the wait list for its Section 8 rent voucher program next week, the first time in a dozen years new spots have been available.

People who apply will face stiff competition for a spot on the list, while the lucky few who succeed in winning one will face a tough rental market.

“We would love to talk more with (property owners) who would like to know more about the program,” said Vanessa M. Cooper, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda. “But we realize the market is really tight at the moment.”

City Council members opted early Wednesday to move forward with a set of recommendations for strengthening the city committee that mediates rent disputes – and, over the objections of Mayor Trish Spencer, to consider gathering data on the rent market here and in other cities to inform discussion about additional steps the city could take to protect renters.

The City Council tacked rising rents on Tuesday. Here's what the council did and what you had to say about it.

The onetime leader of the College of Alameda, the head of Alameda Little League and no fewer than three onetime school board members are among the nearly two dozen people who have applied to fill the remainder of Mayor Trish Spencer’s term on the school board.

Candidates will be able to make their pitch at a public meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Island High School. At that meeting, the school board will pick finalists for the position.

The board will interview the finalists and select someone to fill the open seat on February 3. Spencer vacated the seat after being elected mayor in November, with two years left in her school board term.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly news review. Here are your local headlines for the week.

The developer behind one of the most prominent, most litigated projects in Alameda has restarted the permit application process. Some key details have changed since his last push, according to newly available documents.

Cinema Grill, on the corner of Central Avenue and Oak Street, isn’t your average restaurant. Co-owner Elgina Conner said her vision for Cinema Grill, which opened quietly late last year, was to create a place that is hip but fun and accessible for your whole family.